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What Are the Types of Restaurant

What Are the Types of Restaurant? Complete Guide

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Shari Mason

During my time as a food critic, I have encountered a wide range of eateries.

From cozy neighborhood spots to upscale fine dining establishments, the world of dining offers something for everyone.

But what types of restaurants make our culinary scene so diverse, and how profitable and popular are these restaurant categories? Read on to find out.

20 Most Common Restaurant Types

1. Bistro

Bistro

Profitability Level: $-$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Bistro is one of the types of restaurants that originated in France [1], and the restaurant concept is almost similar to cafes, but it is more focused on breakfast and lunch dishes.

Based on my observation, bistro menus offer dishes at a higher price range than fast-food chains and family-style restaurants.

In France, bistros offer moderately priced food in a not-so-formal dining concept. In the US, bistros provide classy and classic fare in an upscale atmosphere.

Pros:

  • Casual atmosphere
  • Often featuring artisanal and seasonal ingredients
  • Quicker service than casual dining restaurants

Cons:

  • Limited menu options
  • Limited service

Read:

2. Pizzerias

Profitability Level: $$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Known for their delicious pizzas, these establishments offer a casual and family-friendly atmosphere. With options for dine-in, takeout, and delivery, pizzerias cater to various preferences.

“I think [pizza is] probably universal because it’s a product that can be kind of personalized by anybody…”

-Anthony Mangieri, Pioneer of Neapolitan-Style Pizza

Due to their broad appeal and affordable prices, pizzerias have gained immense popularity nationwide, making them a go-to choice for pizza lovers of all ages.

Pros:

  • Family-friendly and casual atmosphere
  • Quick service
  • Offer additional menu items

Cons:

  • Limited options for those with dietary restrictions or preferences
  • It may not offer healthier or gourmet choices.

3. Casual Dining

Profitability Level: $$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Casual dining restaurants are popular in the US because of their exciting and playful menus. The establishments have a more relaxed atmosphere, and it offers full-table service but not too formal.

Casual dining establishment offers various food items, like Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and American. To be more figurative, casual dining establishments fall between fancy, fine dining, and fast casual.

In addition, casual dining restaurants offer quality food matching the culinary trends.

Pros:

  • Relaxed and comfortable atmosphere
  • Wide variety of menu options
  • More affordable than fine dining

Cons:

  • Quality and consistency can vary
  • may lack sophistication or elegance

4. Family Style

Family Style

Profitability Level: $$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Family-style restaurants offer comfort and ease compared to other restaurant categories. We frequently go to IHOP because of its affordable selection of food items for all ages.

These sit-down restaurants serve large portions and usually offer cuisines ideal for family-style dining.

However, I observed that most family-style restaurants offer simple menus than other types of restaurants in the restaurant industry.

While individual plates are offered in a family-style restaurant, the main idea is to deliver food in large plates so customers can share it with their families.

Pros:

  • Enhances togetherness and sharing
  • Variety of flavors to try
  • Ideal for gatherings and celebrations

Cons:

  • Limited personal customization options
  • Challenging dietary restrictions

5. Specialty Drinks

Profitability Level: $-$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Specialty drink types of restaurants are becoming popular these days as the beverage market is fast growing [2]. The restaurant industry has opened its door to specialty drinks stores that offer smoothies, bubble teas, alcoholic beverages, and fresh juices.

The restaurant concept for specialty drinks may not be as broad as other types of restaurants because of its limited dining and seating capacity.

I observed that not all specialty drink restaurants offer quality food. Many specialty drinks only offer sandwiches and fried foods because they are easier to prepare.

Pros:

  • Unique and creative drink offerings.
  • Offer counter service and outdoor seating
  • Cheaper than casual dining establishments

Cons:

  • Limited dining room and experience
  • None to limited food pairings

6. Pop-Up Restaurant

Pop-Up Restaurant

Profitability Level: $$-$$$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Pop-up restaurants are usually present for a short time and offer here-today-gone-tomorrow services. These are types of restaurants often tied to seasonal events and usual practice to test the waters for specific restaurant categories.

Usually, pop-up restaurants are thematic and serve their food depending on the theme.

Pros:

  • Novel and unique dining experiences.
  • Pop-up restaurant feature innovative and experimental menus
  • Cost-effective type of restaurant

Cons:

  • Lack the infrastructure and amenities
  • Limited opportunity for repeat visits

Find out the tips to cut costs in restaurant business.

7. Concession Stands

Profitability Level: $

Popularity Meter: ⭐

Quick Description:

A concession stand is a practical food service business because it occupies a small space for light equipment, a kitchen area, and a service counter.

These types of restaurants are often found in theaters, ballparks, and amusement parks. They may take kiosks or mobile carts, which is not ideal if you want a full table service and more dining room.

If you are planning to open a concession stand, the cost is lower than a food truck. Different from fine dining restaurants, fast food restaurants, and casual restaurants, it does not require extensive investment.

Pros:

  • Convenient and easily accessible
  • Quick service
  • Often offer iconic and nostalgic food options

Cons:

  • Limited menu options
  • Potential for long lines

8. Fine Dining

Fine Dining

Profitability Level: $$$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Fine dining restaurants are one of the most popular types of restaurants around the world. Apart from its impressive table service, expect a full formal dining room and experience- servers, hosts, and a formal dress code.

Fine dining restaurants offer higher quality food that is more expensive than casual dining and contemporary casual restaurants. Dining in a fine dining restaurant involves several meal courses, from appetizers to desserts.

A fancy fine-dining restaurant has staples like impressive wine lists, entrees, and food plating.

Pros:

  • Exceptional food quality
  • Impeccable service
  • Sophisticated and elegant ambiance

Cons:

  • Higher prices compared to other types of restaurants
  • Formal and rigid atmosphere

9. Mongolian Barbecue

Profitability Level: $$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

The Mongolian barbecue offers a unique twist to the teppanyaki grill experience. At this type of restaurant, diners can create their personalized stir-fry dish [3].

The cook will expertly stir-fry the food on a large grill, and diners can watch the mesmerizing culinary process as an elevated dining experience.

Pros:

  • Customizable dining experience
  • Interactive and entertaining cooking process
  • Wide variety of ingredient options

Cons:

  • Potential for long wait times
  • Limited table service

10. Food Truck, Cart, Or Stand

Profitability Level: $-$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Food trucks offer moderately-priced food, and it’s one of the most unique types of restaurants because their full kitchen is inside a vehicle.

Food trucks can be found in urban and metropolitan areas with heavy foot traffic. They offer counter service and outdoor seating because they don’t have enough space.

Food trucks offer particular foods like ice cream, hotdogs, barbecues, tacos, and grilled cheese. Food truck restaurant is an excellent way to test the waters without requiring a brick-and-mortar location and staff members.

Pros:

  • Mobility and flexibility
  • Unique dining experience
  • Opportunity to support local business

Cons:

  • Limited seating options
  • Weather-dependent operations

11. Cafés & Coffee Houses

Cafés & Coffee Houses

Profitability Level: $$-$$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Cafés and coffee shops provide counter service and a great selection of coffee items like espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos.

Aside from coffee and tea, they offer casual food items and breakfast foods. Coffee shops are one of the most iconic types of restaurants because of its great atmosphere.

Pros:

  • The cozy and inviting atmosphere
  • Great coffee and beverage options
  • Food selection complements the drinks

Cons:

  • Can be crowded and noisy
  • Limited table turnover

12. Cafeteria

Profitability Level: $$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Cafeteria-style dining is common among those who attended grade school and high school in the US. It is also a common practice for large corporations, hospitals, and factories with in-house cafeterias for employees.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of food options
  • Efficient and quick service
  • Affordable meal options

Cons:

  • Limited ambiance
  • Congestion

13. Buffet

Profitability Level: $$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Buffet-style restaurants are getting popular because they offer a comprehensive food selection at a fixed price and an eat-all-you-can setup.

Buffets are crowd-pleasing restaurants because they are affordable compared to many restaurants- you can enjoy a big meal for a fixed price.

The dining concept offers a massive selection of food-from breakfast to different types of fusion cuisine. It’s a popular quick-service restaurant in the US and other countries.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of food options
  • Efficient and quick service
  • Suitable for larger groups or gatherings

Cons:

  • Potential for overeating or food waste
  • Crowded

14. Ghost Kitchens/Restaurant

Ghost Kitchens Restaurant

Profitability Level: $$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Ghost restaurants and virtual kitchens operate without needing a storefront because everything happens in a kitchen. The sales and transactions in a virtual restaurant can be made digitally, and every order is delivered.

Unlike different types of restaurants, ghost restaurants don’t have guest interaction at the business location. Every menu and identity in a ghost restaurant are done virtually, which means more savings. However, you have to invest in a digital presence in virtual restaurants.

Pros:

  • Lower overhead costs
  • Flexibility to operate in smaller spaces
  • Catering for convenience

Cons:

  • Lack of a physical dining space
  • Reliance on third-party delivery services

15. Pub/Brewery

Profitability Level: $$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

A pub or brewery is an establishment that serves alcohol and limited casual dishes like burgers and finger foods. Some casual dining restaurants have self-seating bars on their restaurant extensions.

Pubs have full-table service, mainly if they are located in casual dining establishments. It’s a type of restaurant where you can unwind and enjoy an alcoholic drink after a long day.

Pros:

  • Social atmosphere
  • Wide selection of beverages
  • Live entertainment

Cons:

  • Limited menu options
  • Potential for a smoky or stale odor

16. Contemporary Casual

Profitability Level: $$-$$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

A contemporary casual restaurant offers a modern and energetic vibe, thanks to its innovative meals and drinks, but I noticed that its price point falls between casual and fine dining.

A contemporary casual restaurant tends to use local ingredients and offers craft beers on top. They also have a full-table service and cater to young professionals.

In addition, contemporary casual restaurants are more aesthetic than casual restaurants.

Pros:

  • Strikes a balance between casual and upscale
  • Diverse menu options
  • More affordable compared to fine dining

Cons:

  • Limited focus on highly personalized dining experiences
  • Quality and creativity may vary

17. Fast Casual

Fast Casual

Profitability Level: $$$$

Popularity Meter:⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Fast casual restaurants are in between fast food restaurants and casual dining establishments. They have a counter service and are known for their quick service.

Chipotle is one perfect example of a fast-casual restaurant that I can give you. They have customizable meal options and stay as late as other fast food restaurants.

Fast casual restaurants don’t have drive-thru services, but this type of restaurant gives you the quick service you can find on fast food chains.

Pros:

  • Quick and convenient dining.
  • Fresh and quality ingredients.
  • Customizable menu options.

Cons:

  • Less emphasis on ambiance.
  • Potential for long queues.

18. Destination Restaurant

Profitability Level: $$$$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

A Destination restaurant draws patrons beyond its community. Unlike many fast-food restaurants, these different types of restaurants appeal to the masses.

Destination restaurants like local restaurants and ethnic restaurants are patronized because of their great food, head chef, and restaurant history.

Pros:

  • Unique and memorable dining experiences
  • Often located in scenic locations
  • Draws food enthusiasts and travelers

Cons:

  • Limited accessibility
  • Reservation requirements and limited availability

19. Fast Food Restaurants

Profitability Level: $$$$$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Fast food restaurants offer quick-service and low-cost food. A fast-food restaurant serves from a drive-through or counter and has a mass-produced fixed menu.

Popular fast food restaurants like Mc Donalds, Taco Bell, and Burger King are in different parts of the world.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than food trucks and casual dining restaurants
  • Quick and convenient meals
  • Consistent taste and familiar flavors

Cons:

  • Potential for unhealthy food choices
  • High calorie and sodium content

20. Traditional Diners

Traditional Diners

Profitability Level: $$

Popularity Meter: ⭐⭐

Quick Description:

Traditional diners have retro booths, jukeboxes, and checkered tablecloths. They offer irresistible milkshakes and meals that you can find in fast-casual restaurants but at a more affordable price.

Pros:

  • Classic comfort food options
  • Affordable than food trucks meals
  • A friendly and welcoming atmosphere

Cons:

  • Limited healthy or dietary options
  • Potential for greasy dishes

3 Service Styles

Quick Service

Quick-service restaurants prioritize speed and efficiency, offering fast food and limited menu options. Customers typically order at a counter and receive their food promptly.

Full Service

Full-service restaurants offer a complete dining experience with table service, extensive menus, and more personalized attention.

Fast Casual

Fast casual restaurants combine elements of quick service and full service, offering higher quality food with a more relaxed atmosphere.

FAQs

u003cstrongu003eWhat is the most common type of restaurant?u003c/strongu003e

Fast food restaurant is the most common type of restaurant. They are characterized by quick service, limited menu options, and a focus on convenience [u003ca href=u0022https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/fast-food-market-106482u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003e4u003c/au003e].u003cbru003eu003cbru003eDifferent types of restaurants like pop-up restaurants, ghost restaurants, food trucks, and fast food restaurants are popular too.

u003cstrongu003eHow do you choose a restaurant type for your business?u003c/strongu003e

To choose a restaurant type for your business, conduct market research to understand local preferences and identify gaps in the market. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eDevelop a concept that aligns with your target audience’s needs, considering cuisine and price range.

Key Takeaways

Restaurants come in many different types, each offering its own unique experience. From fast food to fancy dining, there’s something for everyone.

Knowing about these different types helps me explore the exciting world of food and find the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal.

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/restaurant/French-restaurants-in-the-20th-century
  2. https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/beverages-market
  3. https://www.kqed.org/arts/13915312/real-mongolian-barbecue-khorkhog-richmond
  4. https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/fast-food-market-106482
Shari Mason

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